Secret Santa Worship (Blog) Day – thank you!

The morning after the night before!

And a heartfelt thank you to all who took part.  Those who wrote, obviously, but also those who read and commented.

“Secret Santa Blog Day” began life as a suggestion to write a post about “worship” and have it published on another’s site.  The writer would have no choice in which site it is published, and the publisher would have no choice of which post they published.  Sort of like the workplace “secret santa” (which has presents) – but in this case with “posts”.

But almost all the authors who initially volunteered were already connected with Church Set Free.  So the theme of worship was moved to this blogsite – and the “anonymous secret” element was dropped – and the name for the day evolved into “Secret Santa “Worship” Day” – and along the way a few more bloggers volunteered (they may call it “were ensnared”).

And, then, yesterday – ten posts went up.

All of them written independently.  None of them edited or changed.  Ten ordinary human-beings writing as they were moved to write.  Their only guidance?  That one word: “Worship” – and their own relationship with “God” and “church” (or whatever all that “stuff” means to each).

If you have read them all you will have noticed many differences.  And one common thread running throughout all –


Love in relationship.  Love in living.  Love in being.  Love in connecting.  Love as worship and worship as Love.

L O V E.

That common thread blew me away!

Because this word “worship” seems (so often) to be just another “and do this” when it comes to God stuff.

You turn up on “Sunday”, and you worship together.  And then you go home again. Worship done.  God done.  For another week. All the guilt attached to the weekly attendance (or not).  All the routine that is worship (or not).  All the “we all know what worship is don’t we” (and mainly do not).

So on a personal level – to see others write about worship was very helpful … but to see what they wrote “worship IS” to each … ?  That was truly amazing!

It was my privilege to be part of yesterday –

Thank you  – writers … readers … commenters … sharers – and everyone who “connected”.




We worshipped – Secret Santa Worship Day

As I stood I saw a small light.  A pinprick.  A flicker.  Someone had moved, there in the congregation.  Just for a moment.  And someone else, another minute flare.  And more.  More flickers.  Instants of  “was that … ?” moments.  Like fireflies.  And I looked down as I stood – what about me?  And saw a faint glow within me.  Hidden within.

And as I caressed the words of The Word, I saw fireflies were everywhere.  Flickers.  Disconnected and faint.  Alone.  Each on its own.

And as I spoke words I do not remember, meanings I cannot recollect, I saw these faint lights raise above each one.  A pinprick of light.  And each began to circle.  Faster and faster.

Even as I spoke.


My lips moving, breath in and breath out, words of sound  … I know not what.

Faster and faster this whirling light show.

Ever faster and brighter as now there were no pinpricks.

All were one.

A circle of flame above my head.

Above our heads.

The noise was monstrous.

I could not hear my voice even though words continued.

And without thought I stopped.

Lost in wonder at the sight and sound of this fire.

And others followed my gaze.

Others seemed to see as well.

Others seemed to hear.

I heard gasps of wonder.

I saw some hear music.

I saw some see their friends.

I saw others see their beloved loved ones.

I saw and heard such beauty everywhere …











There was no “collar or calling”.  There was no “them and us”.  There was no “saved or unclean”.  There was just great beauty, great union, great tears of joy.  We were as we Are.  As One in One of One.  We are in One and One in each.

As I stood at the lectern I saw a great light.  A union of spirit within.  And then sparks broke away and fell.  Each alighting on a head.  Each settling in the hair – then the faces aglow – then within each.   Not just within – within and without.  Each of us alive, alight and changed.

As I stood …

We worshipped.

Worship, 1980-something: Secret Santa Worship Day

It was a mid-week church service, sometime in the early 1980’s.

Who was preaching? I don’t remember. Who was leading the singing? I have no memory of that. Who was playing the pipe organ, the piano, the drums and guitars? I can’t recall that either. Who was present? A few relatives, a few friends, myself and many others whose names I didn’t know. I was only a visitor, not knowing what to expect.

What was happening? That I will never forget.

The main floor and the balcony of the sanctuary was filled that evening. The preliminaries had taken place – greetings, announcements, offering, followed by hymns and praise songs accompanied by enthusiastic clapping. The congregation had taken their seats. But then…

A complete hush fell over the congregation. The silence was so deep you could have heard a pin drop. Literally. It was as if a thick cloud had descended, cutting off every nuance of noise. No foot shuffling could be heard, no throat clearing, no nervous coughing, no nothing. The quality of light subtly changed from that provided by the ordinary church chandeliers to a brilliance I’d never seen before. It was hard to keep your head up or your eyes open.

After only a few moments it was also hard to stay in your seat. Many didn’t. People began to slip off the front pews and platform chairs onto the floor, out of the side pews into the aisle. No-one spoke. Nobody even seemed concerned about it. Everyone was too affected by the manifest presence of God in the room to take notice of their companions.

About half-way back on the left side of the building, my own row was too packed with people for me to move but I couldn’t raise my hands from my lap. I just basked in the soft, cherishing, comforting presence of the Lord.

What was it like? The closest I could describe was like being wrapped in a warm blanket, sitting on my mother’s lap and hugged close.

How long did it last? I never looked at my watch so I don’t know. But gradually the cloud began to lift. The people on the floor were helped back to their seats. The pastor got to his knees, then climbed to his feet holding onto the pulpit, but he couldn’t speak. Maybe he wanted to try to explain what had happened but I don’t think anyone was listening anyway.

Because the entire congregation was worshiping, telling Jesus how much they loved him, how much they adored him, how much they appreciated him. Some stood to their feet with arms raised and tears flowing down their face. Nobody wanted to leave that night and many of us lingered for a time, too awestruck to drive home yet.

As we milled around, we discovered that several miracle healings had occurred throughout the sanctuary. Nobody had laid hands on the sick or offered to pray, but as the presence and power of the Lord engulfed them the sick and hurt were made whole. Pneumonia in an elderly violin-maker – lungs completely cleared. A cracked elbow in my school teacher sister-in-law – bone completely healed.

That was my first experience of worshiping God in spirit and in truth in a church service. I’ve had similar worship experiences since then, in church buildings, convention centers, and the privacy of my own home. God instigated, they are not for his benefit, but for ours.

So, how would I define worship? Falling in love with the most precious, most beautiful, most wonderful, most worthy person that ever existed or ever will exist, knowing that he loves you back, and telling him how you feel.

Secret Santa Worship Day II

On December 9th, Church Set Free will be a “Worship Zone”.

All of us will each write a post about what “worship means to me”.

And we have contributing “authors” who will also be writing posts here on the same word: worship.  So if you missed the invitation and want to add your voice, please add a comment below.

Worship – Secret Santa – Church Set Free – 9th December … It’s personal!

December 9th 2015

(make a note in your diary)

And a thought from me …

Why do I find this song as powerful a communion with my Lord as many “hymns and praise songs” in church as part of “worship”?  Is God in Eric Clapton, is God in all of us?  And are we all in each other, in God?

(and would you call it “worship” if I offered this song to you?)